Product Review: Spector Pro 6.0

The Bottom Line

Spectorsoft is an established leader in the area of computer monitoring software. Computer monitoring and surveillance is generally associated with hackers or malicious intent of some sort- like spyware that steals your passwords by capturing your keystrokes. However, there are a variety of reasons why someone might legitimately want to monitor the activity on a computer- employers monitoring employees, parents monitoring children or even monitoring your own computer as a security tool to ensure it isn't tampered with.

Spector Pro 6.0 once again sets the bar for this type of software.

Pros

  • SpectorSoft is a recognized leader in PC monitoring software
  • Comprehensive monitoring of every action and activity on the PC
  • Ability to restrict access times and block access to specific sites or users

Cons

  • A little expensive for some users

Description

  • Periodic screen snapshots let you review exactly what was displayed on the monitor
  • Keystroke logging captures all keystrokes, but can be configured to ignore passwords to maintain integrity and privacy
  • Monitor all instant messaging chat sessions- both inbound and outbound communications
  • Read all sent and received emails (including web-based email such as Yahoo Mail or Gmail accounts)
  • Review all activity on MySpace including pictures that are posted and profiles that are visited
  • Monitor every program or application that is run on the system
  • Restrict access times to IM or Web sites, or block access to specific web sites or users
  • Receive instant alerts via email or even to a cell phone when inappropriate sites are visited or language is used
  • Review all search terms entered into Google, Yahoo, etc.

Expert Review - Spector Pro 6.0

Is it right for an employer or parent to monitor a PC? That is an ethical issue that is subject to individual interpretation.

Some would call it an invasion of privacy. Some would say that it is an obligation- particularly for a parent to monitor a child's PC. Assuming you fall on the side of the ethical fence that favors monitoring, you can't go wrong with Spector Pro 6.0.

Spector Pro has been twice recognized as a PC Magazine Editors' Choice, and has been awarded the first place Gold Award by TopTenReviews. I rated the previous version, Spector Pro 5.0, with 5 stars, and if we had more stars available I might give this one 6. I have not found any other product (with the possible exception of eBlaster which is also a Spectorsoft product) that is as comprehensive and powerful, but also flexible and easy to use.

Spector Pro rocks- plain and simple! You can choose whether to leave the program visible, letting users know that it is there and that they are being monitored, or you can install it in stealth mode so that it runs secretly in the background. The program interface is simple and intuitive and makes reviewing the data a snap.

The various captures- email, instant messaging, web sites visited, etc.- can all be reviewed. You can also play back the screen snapshots like a still-frame movie of the activity on the system.

Some inappropriate material may appear on the screen without showing up in the other captures, and the screenshots let you see those as well.

For employers looking to monitor a number of employees on a corporate network SpectorSoft also offers SpectorPro 360 which allows you to monitor a number of computers from a central interface.

If you have any need to monitor the activity on your own computer, your employee's computers or the computers of your children this is the program to do it with.

Update: Spector Pro 6.0 is legacy software. Visit SpectorSoft's website for current offerings.

(Edited by Andy O'Donnell)

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